Difference between scratch mix and pellets?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Future_Homesteader, May 25, 2019.

  1. Future_Homesteader

    Future_Homesteader In the Brooder

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    Hi, like the title says I’m trying to figure out what’s the difference between scratch mix and pellets? My chicks are currently on chick starter and trying to figure out what to move them to next and when. I’m trying to buy an organic brand we have here in Australia and so many options also approx how long would 20kg last with 6 hens?

    Thanks
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

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    Scratch is a treat and not a complete feed. You're better off not even using it. Kitchen scraps as treats is better anyway.

    Once the birds are big enough, 8-10 weeks, they can start taking pellet form feed. Less waste with pellet form. Don't get caught up in the labels on poultry bags. You don't want to feed them a layer feed as that has far too much calcium for growing birds. I use a turkey/gamebird finisher. FInisher feeds are less protien and turkey feeds are very high in protein so the finisher is just right for growing birds.

    As stated, don't get caught up with this type of feed is for this poultry and that feed for that. Look at the fat, calcium and protein content not the label telling you it's for turkey or chicken. Growing chickens want 1% calcium, about 3% fat and 18-22% protein.
     
  3. Future_Homesteader

    Future_Homesteader In the Brooder

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    Wow great info thanks! I will keep this handy when I check the label. What will they need once laying?
     
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

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    Oyster shell in a side dish. The activley laying hens will consume it for added calcium needed for eggs. Or switch to a layer feed which is 3% calcium when they start laying. If planning on keeping mixed aged, constantly growing out chicks each year then using oyster shell is better option. Too much calcium for growing birds is not a good thing.
     
  5. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

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    20K will last about 20 days. If they free range or you give them kitchen scraps you can easily extend it another week.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    The way they make regular chicken feed it to gather all the ingredients and grind them up to make a powder they call Mash. Since the different ingredients have different densities that mash can separate so the chickens aren't necessarily getting everything. When it is fed it is usually fed wet to keep it form separating. To make pellets they add water and mix it enough so it is a paste. Then they squeeze that paste through a die and flash dry it in a way to make pellets. To make crumble they partially crush the pellets. So calling it pellets, crumble or mash doesn't really tell you anything about the nutritional value of the feed.

    As Egghead said, scratch is an incomplete food. It is generally made of different grains which can settle out. The chickens will probably eat the parts they like best before they get around to the other stuff. Those grains are a decent source of some nutrition but chickens need a lot more than what grains supply. They need a certain amount of fat, fiber, salt, and other things.

    I don't know what your labels look like Down Under but I'd guess they look a lot like ours up here. If you look at those labels you will see several different "nutritions" that you recognize and probably a couple that are really weird. These are essential Amino Acids (a type of protein) that chickens need. These often come from animal products or they can be made artificially. Since they are essential the organic rules allow the artificial ones in organic feeds, not sure how you handle that Down Under.

    If you look at the different labels you will probably see that all the ingredients are about the same percentage except calcium and protein. Chickens that are laying eggs need excess calcium for the egg shells. So Layer feed typically has somewhere around 4% calcium. That can vary a fair amount but is a significant change from other feeds. Chickens not laying, whether growing or already grown, still need some calcium for growth or body maintenance. That's why you typically see about 1% calcium, give or take, in other feeds. So that is one significant difference.

    A point to that. It is not what is in one bite, it is how many grams of total calcium they eat n a day, and that is averaged over several days. If they forage for a lot of their food they may not get enough calcium for their egg shells. I consider it a good idea to offer oyster shell on the side even if you are feeding Layer. The ones that need the extra calcium for their egg shells seem to know it, the others don't eat enough to harm themselves.

    The other significant difference is in protein. You might find the protein content in feeds labeled for chickens anywhere from 15% to maybe 22%. Feeds labeled for other fowl can go higher. We all don't have the same options at our stores. Different ones of us have different opinions of what percentage protein is best. To me some of that depends on the different stages of their growth, some on our goals for them. For me, I like higher protein feeds the first 4 to 6 weeks of age, that helps them feather out faster and get a good start in life. After that for chicks that will be layers I like a lower protein feed for evermore, for meat birds stay fairly high. Others prefer a higher protein regimen. I'm not saying I'm right and they are wrong, just that we have different opinions and different goals.

    Again, if they forage for a lot of their food or you feed them a lot of treats the total grams of protein they eat in a day may vary quite a bit from what the label says.
     
  7. Timothy Menezes

    Timothy Menezes Songster

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    :goodpost:
     
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